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2013 Wrap-up. 2014 Predictions, Part III.

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22nd December 2003

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Motorola Mobility

Despite being bought by Google some time ago, it is only this year that we have begun to see the  Motorola Moto X search engine's influence on the handset business.

The Moto X has some innovative customisation options that make it stand out from the crowd, but sales have been slower than expected and there has been a lack of new models available in general.

Google must continue to improve Motorola's range if it is to remain in touch with the market, or else investors might start to question why Google bought Motorola at all. It may well be that Google might divest itself of the handset business in the future but keep the extensive collection of patents, especially if sales do not begin to improve more dramatically.

HTC

HTC is one of the main victims of Samsung's market grab and it has responded by making its  HTC One handsets more distinctive with the HTC One winning many admiring glances.

But HTC is unusual in being a pure-play mobile phone company at a time when most of the competition are subsidiaries of larger technology or industrial corporations. We think perhaps a merger is on the cards, and fellow Taiwanese firm ASUS looks to us to be an ideal partner.

HTC certainly has enough innovation to make their devices attractive, but it is difficult for them to compete with giants such as Samsung in terms of marketing clout.

Sony

Sony's product line consists of distinctive slabby phones with some interesting features and some  Sony Xperia Z1 highly competitive high-end devices. 2013 saw some significant improvements (such as the excellent Xperia Z1) in Sony's product range, but this wasn't really met with the boost in sales that they would have hoped for.

As the only remaining Japanese player in the worldwide mobile phone market, Sony must be concerned that they do not follow the path of Toshiba, Sharp and Panasonic into oblivion. The good news for Sony is that the company has managed to reverse several years of losses and now makes a slim profit.

 LG

Samsung's arch-rival, LG had a poor 2012 which it turned around somewhat in 2013 with  LG G2 improved sales figures and better devices such as the LG G2. Despite the G2's excellent technical credentials it seems that it hasn't quite been the halo device that LG wanted.

Although LG is a huge corporation, Samsung is twice its size which makes it difficult for LG to compete head-to-head. But LG's huge resources and motivation to compete with its Korean competitor should mean that LG will continue to push hard during 2014.

However, perhaps LG also need to work on their industrial design. Despite the G2's excellent technical specifications, it looks rather bland compared to the competition.

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